We, the Churches’ leaders of Aleppo, met in extraordinary circumstances at the Syrian Orthodox Archdiocese of Aleppo on Friday 24th August 2012, to discuss the current political impasse in Syria and its unprecedented and foretold consequences which are currently unfolding with an ugly magnitude all over Syria; and witnessed and suffered by all Syrians and especially Aleppians.
We are told by history that Christians in Syria are home-grown, endogenous and an ancient component of the Syrian demography. Throughout their long co-existence and patriotic struggle to up hold their priorities to live in dignity in a sovereign, independent and free homeland together with all Syrians. They believe that differences in opinion should consolidate and contribute to the enrichment of the culture of plurality of Syria. They advocated freedom of conscience, freedom of religion and democracy and dreamed to live in love with other which underpinned by social justice, peace democracy. They believed that citizenship is the ceiling under which such milieu thrives, regardless of the faith, religions and affiliation of the co-citizens.
As in the past, Christians in the Middle East and their churches’ leaders today, in spite of their reduced circumstances and number, will not spare any effort in endeavouring with all peace-loving people in the region and worldwide to get Syria out of this vicious circle of violence, and anarchy that undermines her national fabric and eroded her unity; and to re-establish truce, law and order, security. We are also advocating for reform, inclusiveness, social justice and peace.
Some individuals and groups are currently working to highlight the inhuman conditions and plight endured of their fellow Syrian citizens as a result of this relentless violence, urging humanitarian and benevolent organizations in neighbouring countries and further afield to step in to relieve the suffering of the Syrian people. W would like to remind the world of the humane and hospitable approach that the Syrian people demonstrated by embracing and uplifting the Iraqi refugees from their pains and suffering as they reluctantly found themselves in Syria escaping the waves of violence since 2003. Now, the Syrian people are witnessing the same dilemma and are in dire need in the absence of proportionate humanitarian aids.
We declare that:
1 – We welcome the visit of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to Lebanon in September 2012; to present the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops. Communion and Witness, which was convened at the Vatican in October 2010.
2 – We refuse all kinds of immigration as a response to the recent crisis in the Middle East; and strongly condemn all propagators, instigators and provocateurs who call upon Middle Eastern Christians to migrate;
3 – We refute and refuse all kinds of religious extremism and radicalism and the evolved language of intimidation and threat that is directed toward the demographic components of our homeland regardless based on their religion, creeds and affiliations. We also repudiate the arming of churches under any pretence;
4 – We consider all prisoners of current conflict as prisoners of conscience and pray for their safety while in custody of their captives. Enjoy the full respect of their dignity, in accordance to the values and moral ethics and teachings of our religions. We also repudiate and condemn all acts of violence and kidnapping under any pretence;
5 – We call on all peoples with free conscience to refrain from all types of violence against fellow human beings. We also call for meaningful reforms; and for fostering law-and-order, justice and peace;
6 – We reiterate our conviction and belief that the only path to achieve justice, peace and the rebuilding of our homeland is through love, co-operation and acceptance of our fellow human beings. This can only be achieved by constructive and meaningful dialogue between all belligerent elements of our country;
7 – We urge all peace lovers and humanitarian organisations to seriously endeavour to provide all possible means of humanitarian and medical reliefs to innocent Syrians who were caught in the vicious cycle of violence; were badly affected and displaced by the current conflict; have undergone internal and external relocation and emigration. They are currently suffering an unprecedented harsh summer temperature and expected to endure a severe winter conditions.
May Lord of Peace give his peace to you in every condition and in everywhere.
May God bless and protect you all.
Aleppo Church Leaders
Signed in Aleppo on 25th August 2012.